Have you ever tried calling a business only to find yourself listening to endless ringing? Most people feel put off and discouraged when this happens and eventually stop trying to reach said business. We all know this feeling, which is why it’s so important to understand the causes of poor call management and how you can avoid it at your medical practice.
Why is call management so important?
When a potential patient gets in touch with your office through a phone call, that first communication will set the tone for the way in which your office is perceived by them. The patient hasn’t even scheduled an appointment with you, but they’re already having either a positive or negative customer experience. If the phone call turns into a negative customer experience, the call probably won’t be converted into an actual appointment. And what’s even worse, the caller could contribute to a negative word-of-mouth reputation for your practice.
Managing calls correctly might seem like a no brainer, but there are actually many small details that can create a better experience for your callers. Good phone call management can increase your lead conversion and bottom line, along with boosting your business’ reputation to attract even more customers in the future.
One of the most common mistakes that many medical offices make when handling phone calls is very simple: letting the phone ring too many times. Many medical practices simply let their phones ring incessantly without bothering to pick up each phone call. A caller might try to reach your business a couple of times… but after a few failed attempts, it’s very likely that they’ll simply look for another option.
Letting your phone calls go to voicemail is also a poor strategy. By the time your customers are able to leave a message, they’ll probably be feeling discouraged and uninterested already. And even if they do leave a message, it’s common for staff to forget about checking the voicemail. As a result, any messages will likely be lost and those leads won’t be converted.
Simple ways to fix call management
Before you can fix this problem, you need to identify its source. Does your practice only get a high number of calls during certain hours of the day? Is your front desk understaffed? Do you get many calls after office hours, when there’s no one to pick up the phone? Perhaps you recently published a new marketing campaign and your practice is receiving numerous inquiries about it.
Once you’ve identified why phone calls are going unanswered, you can take action. One of the easiest and most affordable ways to fix this problem and manage your phones is through a virtual answering service. These services provide professional, knowledgeable phone operators who will be able to take each phone call and deliver a great customer experience, regardless of the time of the day.
The benefits of a virtual answering service
One of the many great things about virtual answering services is that they’re highly customizable, which means that you’ll be able to tailor the service to fit your needs perfectly. So, if for example, you only need someone to be able to pick up phone calls after office hours, you’ll be able to request that particular service. Or if you want someone to pick up calls after the phone rings a certain amount of times – say, three – and your on-site staff is unable to pick up.
With a virtual answering service, you’ll avoid unanswered calls and missed messages. Operators will be able to provide information, answer inquiries, schedule appointments, take cancellations, and transfer calls. If there are any calls that need follow-up from your staff, virtual answering operators will even be able to take messages from callers and then forward them to your staff, or even directly to yourself.
By using a virtual answering service, you’ll be able to avoid the most common pitfalls of call management, such as long waiting times and voicemail. You’ll ensure that your patients’ first contact with your practice is a positive one, creating a pleasant customer experience from that first moment on. Additionally, you’ll reduce your on-site staff’s workload, allowing them to focus on the patients and procedures that need to be carried out on a daily basis.
Great call management isn’t difficult to achieve with the help of a virtual reception service, and its benefits are impossible to deny. Patients expect and need speedy responses in the healthcare industry, and being able to provide an open line of communication for them can improve your bottom line and create positive buzz around your practice. Providing poor or great call management can determine whether you convert leads, increase your profits, and have happier patients from the moment they call.